Saturday, March 8, 2008

Inspiration - It's a long one!

Where do you look for inspiration? Of course, it's all around us and for me, as well as for you, I'm sure, it's always changing. The internet, for me, is loaded with inspiration: from intelligent, well-written, colorful blogs, to educational websites and tutorials, to podcasts, to Flickr images, there is an abundance of inspiration out there every day.

For the most part, I truly feel that, in some ways, my days are buoyed by these things available to me. For me, the amount of art, craft, and design that I can now see and hear and talk about on a daily basis is something that was lacking in my life previously. I think that my be one of the reasons for the popularity of Ravelry, craft, and art blogs. In the past, unless I was able to go to a museum or gallery or take a class, I wasn't physically able to be around an artful culture.

While I made for myself an artful and creative life, I often found myself hungering for someone else to inspire me. I've always been a bit of an anomaly, I think, to some of my friends. We are the ones - homeschooling, vegetarian, environmental... colorful, etc. - that people would kind of tip their heads to one side and say things like, "Oh... well, what do you eat then?" or "What will you do about socialization?" or the very common (and fitting many a situation) "Ohhhh... that's interesting..." I never begrudge people their curiosity, it's just that oftentimes I felt like the curiosity. :)

But now... now I don't. There are those who would smirk at the idea of online community. They say things like it's virtual and not "real," as if there are no real people on the other end. But for me, who has often felt like an island in my "brick and mortar" communities, my online connections are meaningful because so many people can simply relate. And because of that, my "islandness" in my "real" life has become that much more tolerable. I do not feel as lonely in my need for connection with folks who can talk hours on end about the lovely, squishiness of yarn or the great color in a photograph or the way light is captured in a painting. I can do that at any time; not just on rare occasions. In fact, because of places like, I have gotten connected with people in my own OFFline community and now enjoy a weekly knitting night at a local coffee shop.


I love images and get quite inspired by a splash of color or a new angle of looking at something. I love the way light changes everything throughout the day and how looking at something mundane through the lens of a camera or the eye of an artist can elevate it to something of beauty. I love that people can do that... and that we do.

Around my house, I like to see those colors and images that lift my mood and so there are places around my home where I can enjoy them.

One place is my inspiration board. When I posted the photos of it on Flickr, a friend said,

"What a great idea. What do you use them for? Your paint or your photography? Amazing colors and love the collection/shell boxes!! What a great idea!"
and I replied,

"Oh, they are just images and colors that strike my fancy. I rotate them in and out. I don't use them for anything specifically, but I begin to see patterns that emerge that help me. For example, I've really latched on to the blue, brown, and green color palette, I've noticed, and so those are the colors that I'll use when I paint my laundry room in the next couple of months (when I find the time!) I have a postcard of a favorite painting from the Ringling Museum of Fine Art (the blue Mary there) and an inspirational poem. There's a picture of a hairstyle I like as well as favorite family photos. Sometimes they are just things that I just want to let my eyes rest on - if that makes sense. I cut out many many images from magazines and use them in my journal. I am able to look at them from time to time when I look back over everything, but there are some images and photos that I've taken that I just want around me because they are so very "now" for me. Perhaps they are not things that I would want to have framed - like the shot of the little stuffed owl I liked in a toy store I visited - but I just want to see it. So, mostly, I guess it is a small reflection of the present "me" and the board changes as I change. Thanks for asking. :) "

I also like to keep a rotating "gallery" of photos on the fridge in acrylic sleeves that I found on sale at Target. They were all in one long strip, but I cut them into thirds and backed them with magnetic tape.

We also have a gallery of our own rotating artwork in the dining area in the kitchen.

These are a few things around our house, but inspiration comes from everywhere and is always changing. Here are a few sites and sounds I am currently finding inspirational:

More inspiration boards: Inspiration Boards

A supremely inspiring video of an artist who creates dolls and jewelry using only her feet!

Gennine's beautiful art blog.

Be Creative Every Day.

One of my new favorite podcasts: Stitch It!

... and an old favorite: CraftyPod
(btw, CraftyPod is simply a great site, even if you don't want to listen!!)

Okay. I have so many more, but I won't flood you with links!

Thanks for hanging in with me if you made it to the end of this post! I guess the topic is something near and dear to my heart and I just had a lot to say! Have a wonderful and inspiring weekend!
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